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Love Among The Ruins Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Browning Type: poem Views: 131

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Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles

     Miles and miles

On the solitary pastures where our sheep


Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop

     As they crop—

Was the site once of a city great and gay,

     (So they say)

Of our country's very capital, its prince

     Ages since

Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far

     Peace or war.


Now—the country does not even boast a tree,

     As you see,

To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills

     From the hills

Intersect and give a name to, (else they run

     Into one)

Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires

     Up like fires

O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall

     Bounding all,

Made of marble, men might march on nor be prest,

     Twelve abreast.


And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass

     Never was!

Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'erspreads

     And embeds

Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,

     Stock or stone—

Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe

     Long ago;

Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame

     Struck them tame;

And that glory and that shame alike, the gold

     Bought and sold.


Now,—the single little turret that remains

     On the plains,

By the caper overrooted, by the gourd


While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks

     Through the chinks—

Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time

     Sprang sublime,

And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced

     As they raced,

And the monarch and his minions and his dames

     Viewed the games.


And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve

     Smiles to leave

To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece

     In such peace,

And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey

     Melt away—

That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair

     Waits me there

In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul

     For the goal,

When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb

     Till I come.


But he looked upon the city, every side,

     Far and wide,

All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades'


All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,—and then,

     All the men!

When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,

     Either hand

On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace

     Of my face,

Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech

     Each on each.


In one year they sent a million fighters forth

     South and north,

And they built their gods a brazen pillar high

     As the sky,

Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force—

     Gold, of course.

Oh, heart! oh, blood that freezes, blood that burns!

     Earth's returns

For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!

     Shut them in,

With their triumphs and their glories and the rest.

     Love is best!


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